Admin l Friday, October 14, 2022
VIENNA – One year after prominent journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, the media freedom situation has further deteriorated, stated OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro today.
While the Novaya Gazeta newspaper in the Russian Federation, of which Dmitri Muratov is chief-editor, was ordered to shut down, Maria Ressa now faces the immediate threat of imprisonment for her journalistic work.
“The awarding of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize underscored the significance of media freedom for democracy, security and peace,” Ribeiro said.
“Their cases painfully illustrate that not even a Nobel Peace Prize can protect from attacks and illegitimate persecution of journalists and independent media. It also illustrates that we need to even further step up our work for enhancing media freedom and the safety of journalists.”
The Representative expressed particularly serious concern about the immediate and increasingly likely risk of imprisonment of Maria Ressa after her appeal was rejected. “Ressa has continuously spoken truth to power despite a sustained campaign of attacks, harassment and trumped-up libel cases against her,” said Ribeiro.
“Next to threatening Ressa’s personal liberty, the case also sends a chilling message to other investigative journalists in the country and across the globe. Also in the OSCE region, we increasingly witness legal harassment, strategic lawsuits and criminalization of journalistic work in an attempt to prevent scrutiny and silence investigative reporting. But independent media has an essential role in sustaining democracy and journalists should be able to carry out their professional work under safe conditions, without threat or fear of reprisals.”
Ribeiro stressed that the Nobel Commission last year chose to award Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov as symbols for all courageous journalists. “Ressa is a member of the OSCE Advisory Group of Eminent Experts on Freedom of the Media, which was established on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of my mandate. Her relentless courage and commitment to media freedom have inspired many new ideas and initiatives on tackling emerging challenges to media freedom; her journalism and advocacy continue to be an inspiration for journalists and media freedom advocates alike,” Ribeiro stated.
“This year has proven more than ever that independent quality journalism is essential for peace. There can be no security without media freedom.”
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.